Golf Blog

Top 20 Golf Destinations in America

This is the first official pjkoenig ranking of America’s best public golf destinations. I urge you not to take this lightly. All of the spots listed here MUST be considered when planning any proper golf buddies trip. Maybe your brother is getting married, or maybe your best friend from college just got divorced. Perhaps you just want to get weird with your golf buddies. In all of these situations, a golf trip is required and it is a big deal.

For this ranking, only public destinations are considered and all private golf clubs will be completely ignored. When planning a trip for 8 or more golf buddies, It would be foolish to assume that greater than 1% of the golfing population can put together a day of 36 holes at Shinnecock Hills and National Golf Links on Long Island. As you can imagine, this caveat eliminated a lot of great golf destinations.

This list is much more than a quick slideshow of the traditional destinations. This list has been carefully calculated and avoids bias as much as humanly possible. I even managed to overlook the food poisoning that I received at Pinehurst in 2018.

I simply filled in the numbers and let the destinations fall where they may. The list below takes the following 5 criteria into consideration and they are weighted accordingly. The full matrix is at the end of this post.

  • Golf (50%) - As it should be, the actual golf is the most important criteria on this list. Quantity and quality of golf are both of premier importance.

  • Entertainment (20%) - From live music to local dive bars, you gotta find something to do after the sun goes down. A wide variety of options is also important. Not everyone likes to get blacked out drunk and line dance to country music.

  • Value (15%) - Most large groups of golfers span across a pretty good income range. A destination is going to move up the list if you can bring your hilarious, but homeless buddy Steve and still manage some good golf.

  • Convenience (10%) - Getting to the destination and getting from course to course is considered in this criteria. Nobody wants to ride with your buddy Bill while he farts in the car for 7 hours. A lot of big cities were eliminated given the difficulty of keeping the trip golf centric.

  • Golf Experience (5%) - How cool are the overall golf vibes? Does the destination have a fun short course? Are there goat caddies? It is the unique and fun aspect of the game that is measured here..


#20 - Michigan

It could actually be a crime to put an entire state this good at the bottom of any list. However, it is important to keep in mind that even making a list this exclusive is a massive accomplishment. When it comes covering the state of Michigan, you have a handful of great golfing areas. Here are the hotspots.

  • Arcadia Bluffs - perhaps the most scenic golf course in Michigan has a new friend with the new south course opening in 2018.

  • Boyne Highlands - The Heather & Arthur Hills both deliver some heat.

  • Forest Dunes - Tom Doak’s reversible golf course, The Loop, and Tom Weiskopf’s classic design.

  • Grand Traverse - Jack Nicklaus’ The Bear

Depending on how you set up the trip, there can be a decent amount of traveling involved on a buddies trip to Michigan. I scoured the entire state over two weeks on the RGV Tour. Check out the recap here.

The aptly named Arcadia Bluffs in Michigan.

The aptly named Arcadia Bluffs in Michigan.

DJI_0115.jpg
PJK_9671.jpg

#19 - Coer D’Alene, ID

I told myself, I wasn’t gonna do it. Don’t use the floating island green as the poster boy for this destination. But I did it anyways. It’s just such a cool thing that everyone should experience. It’s not just the floating island green that will get your attention, all of the par 3’s at Coeur D’Alene Resort are top notch. A round at nearby Circling Raven makes this a serious destination. Aside from the golf, you have a casino nearby and one of the country’s most beautiful lakes available for water sports. There is also a quaint little downtown for eating and shenanigans. We rocked the karaoke scene pretty hard. You can read about the full experience on the blog recap here.

The floating 14th at the Coeur D’Alene Resort Course.

The floating 14th at the Coeur D’Alene Resort Course.

DJI_0132.jpg
DJI_0120.jpg

#18 - Streamsong Resort, FL

Although this little slice of golf heaven is rather difficult to get to, it holds everything that a group of golf buds could desire. Most importantly, it has some seriously good golf. The new Black course by Gil Hanse adds to an already impressive lineup of the Red and Blue courses designed by Coore & Crenshaw and Tom Doak, respectively. With on course lodging, Streamsong ups the convenience factor with stay and play options for booking.

Gil Hanse’s Black course at Streamsong

Gil Hanse’s Black course at Streamsong

The red course shines.

The red course shines.

The Blue course’s signature 7th hole.

The Blue course’s signature 7th hole.

#17 - Myrtle Beach, SC

For good reason, Myrtle Beach has been on the golfer’s map for decades. With options for beach activities and summer time goodness, you will have a swinging good time in Myrtle Beach without playing any golf at all. Fortunately, there is plenty of good golf to find in the area. Here are my go to courses in one of my favorite states.

  • Caledonia and True Blue - Two outstanding Mike Strantz designs. If you can only play one, play Caledonia.

  • Barefoot Resort - Fazio, Dye, Norman, and Love designs await your golf party.

  • The Dunes Golf & Beach Club - One of RTJ’s finest designs. Private club that allows unaccompanied play through www.myrtlebeachgolf.com.

You can read about these courses and more on my RGV Tour journey through South Carolina.

Mike Strantz’s Caledonia.

Mike Strantz’s Caledonia.

#16 - Kiawah Island Resort - SC

Number 16 on the list is a personal favorite of mine. Ever since I first played the Pete Dye designed Ocean Course as a kid, I have been smitten with the bold oceanside layout. If you only play the Ocean Course itself, your group is guaranteed to have an experience that they will remember for years. Fortunately, the resort has 4 other great options to round out your golf experience with Cougar Point, Osprey Point, Turtle Point, and Oak Point. The point is… there is plenty of good golf to play at Kiawah Island.

Kiawah Island’s Ocean Course.

Kiawah Island’s Ocean Course.

The front nine of the Ocean Course at Kiawah Island.

The front nine of the Ocean Course at Kiawah Island.

Alligators are plentiful at Kiawah Island

Alligators are plentiful at Kiawah Island

#15 - Big Cedar Lodge - Branson, MO

The Big Cedar Lodge in Branson, MO is an up and comer on the list of golf destinations. With a lot of the construction coming in the last several years, the finished product will be a serious golf force on the golf trip list. Check out this hot fire course lineup.

  • Ozarks National - Coore & Crenshaw design

  • Payne’s Valley - Tiger Woods design

  • Buffalo Ridge Springs - Tom Fazio Design

  • Top of the Rock - Jack Nicklaus designed par 3 course

  • Mountain Top - Gary Player designed short course

Since Big Cedar Lodge is technically a Wilderness lodge, golf is not the main focus. A quick scan of the “things to do” section revealed about 20 non golf related activities.

A giant sinkhole has been excavated in front of the range at The Top of The Rock.

A giant sinkhole has been excavated in front of the range at The Top of The Rock.

Top of The Rock1-49.jpg
Top of The Rock1-15.jpg

#14 - Palm Springs, CA

When you look at Palm Springs from an airplane, you see a desert landscape punctuated with seas of green. As you examine those green seas closer, it becomes very clear what the city’s priorities are. Hundreds of golf courses tell you that Palm Springs love it’s golf. With so many options to chose from, how do you decide? Here are my top 5 public Palm Springs golf courses.

  • The Classic Club - An Arnold Palmer design that has hosted the Bob Hope classic numerous times.

  • Escena Golf Club - A high quality Jack Nicklaus design

  • Desert Willow Golf Club - The Firecliff course is one of my favorites in the area.

  • Silver Rock Golf Club - An Arnold Palmer design set right up against the mountainside.

  • Indian Wells Golf Club - The Celebrity and Players course. You know which one you are.

Silver Rock is one of my favorite picks for Palm Springs golf.

Silver Rock is one of my favorite picks for Palm Springs golf.

#13 - Sand Valley, WI

Sand Valley is a part of the Dream Golf umbrella that includes places like Bandon Dunes and Cabot Cliffs. So it is safe to say that the formula for success is alive and well at Sand Valley. With 2 championship layouts and a short course already in place, this destination will only improve as time moves forward and new golf is added. The lodging is also deliciously close to the golf courses and the dining is just as tasty. On my last visit, I had the cheese curds for three consecutive meals. Check out my full recap from my latest visit here.

Coore and Crenshaw’s Sand Valley

Coore and Crenshaw’s Sand Valley

#12 - St George, UT

Some of the most visually striking golf courses in America are in the St George, UT area. With amazing National Parks nearby, you’ve got a pretty cool opportunity for an all world golf destination.

  • Sand Hollow - The top of my list. The back nine is like nothing else in the country.

  • Wolf Creek - If there is such a thing as a golf roller coaster, this course would be it.

  • Sky Mountain - Sleeper pick alert!! Views this good do not come under $50. I walked it for $32.

  • Coral Canyon - Another good looking gem.

The 14th hole at Sand Hollow

The 14th hole at Sand Hollow

The golf roller coaster, Wolf Creek

The golf roller coaster, Wolf Creek

VALUE ALERT: Sky Mountain.

VALUE ALERT: Sky Mountain.

#11 - Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail - AL

Throughout the fine state of Alabama you will find a sprinkling of high quality golf courses all designed by Robert Trent Jones. It is the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail and It is without a doubt, the greatest value for golf in the entire country. There are 10 golf courses in total and you probably won’t have time to play them all, so you will need to plan your route accordingly. You can read about my selections and the time we spent on the trail here.

We decided to parlay our golf trip with an Auburn v Clemson football game. It was tailgates, Motel 6’s, and too many visits to the Waffle House. It was a slammin’ Alabama good time.

The opening hole on Capitol Hill’s Judge course. One of my RTJ favorites.

The opening hole on Capitol Hill’s Judge course. One of my RTJ favorites.

#10 - The Greenbrier - White Sulphur Springs, WV

The Greenbrier is the oldest resort on this list and it’s a great place to soak up some golf history ambiance with your golf bros. The Greenbrier is the site of the 1979 Ryder Cup and is the old stomping grounds of Mr. Sam Snead. It’s also one of the few places that the public can play an original Seth Raynor design. For the golf architecture fanatics in your group, this should be a big deal.

Head on out to Slamming Sammy’s after your round on the Old White TPC or the Meadows course.

The Old White TPC course at The Greenbrier.

The Old White TPC course at The Greenbrier.

#9 - Silvies Valley Ranch, OR

At Silvies Valley Ranch they have caddies that are goats. That is right I am talking about goat caddies. This fact alone should be enough for you to start planning your trip. But Silvies takes it a step further by providing some incredible golf to go along with those goats. Dan Hixson has designed a reversible championship course that plays wildly different depending on the day. There is also a challenge course and a 9 hole par 3 course. The only bad news is that this destination earns the honor of the most difficult destination to get to. You can read the entire story on the resort here.

Bruce the goat caddy eyes and assesses the golf action.

Bruce the goat caddy eyes and assesses the golf action.

PJK_1892.jpg
DJI_0069.jpg

#8 - Bend, OR

It’s the second destination in Oregon on this list and if you know anything about golf destinations, you know that it won’t be the last. There is a ton of really good golf packed into the Bend area. The top hits are below.

  • Pronghorn Resort - Nicklaus has designed a real beauty in the high desert.

  • Brasada Ranch - When golfing with your bros at Brasada, It’s customary to say “Hey nice shot, Brosado!”

  • Tetherow - You will either enjoy the challenge of this David Mclay Kidd design or you will curse his name and throw your clubs in the lake.

  • Crosswater - A big and bold Cupp and Fought design.

  • Sunriver - Two beauty’s with the Meadows & Woodland Course

You can view the full list of Oregon courses here. I got em all covered.

The Nicklaus Course at Pronghorn.

The Nicklaus Course at Pronghorn.

Brasada Ranch

Brasada Ranch

The finishing hole at Crosswater.

The finishing hole at Crosswater.

#7 - Las Vegas, NV

As much as you might want to ignore Las Vegas as a serious golf destination, you simply cannot do it. Aside from the neon lined fairway called Las Vegas Blvd, there is a lot of high quality golf to be played in the area. Here is my quick list of the places that should be considered on your Vegas golf blowout. I would also recommend throwing your hungover buddies into a rental car and driving the hour out to Wolf Creek. If you can’t find some fun afterwards on the boulevard, then I don’t know what to tell you.

  • Coyote Springs - Underrated Nicklaus course but worth the hour drive.

  • Shadow Creek - $500 green fee and must stay at an MGM property. Time to cash in your blackjack winnings.

  • Cascata - The nearly $300 green fee will set you back, but at least it’s not $500

  • Paiute Golf Resort - The Wolf, The Sun, and The Snow: 3 Pete Dye designs worthy of the 30 minute drive.

  • Bal Hai - Close enough to see the strip but not close enough to slice your drive onto it.

Tom Fazio’s Shadow Creek

Tom Fazio’s Shadow Creek

Paiute’s Wolf Course

Paiute’s Wolf Course

Nicklaus’ Coyote Springs

Nicklaus’ Coyote Springs

#6 - Pinehurst, NC

Even at #6, I was surprised that Pinehurst didn’t finish higher than it did. With the resort recently making improvements to course #2 and the opening of a great little par 3 course called The Cradle, the resort has really brought itself up to speed with the modern golfer. In addition to the resort, which has 9 golf courses, there is also a wealth of other options that I would list as must plays.

  • The Dormie Club - Coore & Crenshaw design. Never heard one bad word about it.

  • Tobacco Road - A bold and fun Mike Strantz design. Might be the most fun golf course in the world.

  • Mid Pines - Donald Ross masterpiece.

  • Pine Needles - Another Donald Ross masterpiece.

Pinehurst gives you a nice little carry bag to use for your round at The Cradle par 3 course.

Pinehurst gives you a nice little carry bag to use for your round at The Cradle par 3 course.

Pinehurst #2 has been returned to its sandy Ross roots.

Pinehurst #2 has been returned to its sandy Ross roots.

The golf in and around Pinehurst will get you excited.

The golf in and around Pinehurst will get you excited.

#5 - Scottsdale, AZ

Golfers like to visit Scottsdale for the PGA Tour’s Waste Management Open in January or Baseball’s Spring Training in March. Either way, Scottsdale is an obvious destination of choice for those stuck in the doldrums of winter across the rest of the country. With so many courses to decide from, I am here to make things easy.

  • We-Ko-Pa - Two of the best public golf courses in the desert await. This is my top of the list.

  • Troon North - The Pinnacle & Monument courses are often referred to as the best public options for golf in Scottsdale. Troon doesn’t disappoint.

  • Wickenburg Ranch - Don’t forget to play the short course, Little Wick as well.

  • Ak Chin Southern Dunes - This one is worth the 30 minute drive.

  • TPC Scottsdale - Go for the final four holes. You won’t remember the first 14.

  • Quintero Golf Club - Some seriously fun and scenic golf holes from Rees Jones

4 years ago, I wrote one of my first blog posts about a golf bros trip to Scottsdale. Read it here.

A double rainbow over the 11th hole at Southern Dunes

A double rainbow over the 11th hole at Southern Dunes

Wickenburg Ranch

Wickenburg Ranch

We-Ko-Pa is my go to option for public golf in Scottsdale

We-Ko-Pa is my go to option for public golf in Scottsdale

#4 - Lake Tahoe, NV

Scoring high in the value and entertainment categories is the stunningly blue Lake Tahoe. However, the location is perfectly suited for a serious golf buddy blowout. Just rent a house in the area on VRBO or AirBNB and golf your little heart out. With casinos in the south lake area and a more reserved, quiet vibe up north, Tahoe works for just about everyone. Lake Tahoe is a serious powerhouse destination. You can read about my latest visit to Tahoe here.

  • Edgewood Tahoe - Home of the American Century Celebrity Golf Championship. A true Tahoe gem.

  • Old Brockway Golf Course - Former hang out of Frank Sinatra & Dean Martin. Scene of the first Crosby. A 9 hole must play.

  • Old Greenwood - A solid Jack Nicklaus design. A local favorite.

  • Grays Crossing - A Peter Jacobsen/Jim Hardy designed championship golf course.

  • Coyote Moon - Some fun holes, some weird ones, great views abound.

The 16th hole at Edgewood Tahoe

The 16th hole at Edgewood Tahoe

#3 - Pebble Beach, CA

With green fees consistently over $300 for the top golf courses on the Monterey Peninsula, this destination does not score high in the value category, but quite frankly it didn’t matter. It’s Pebble freakin’ Beach. Dubbed by many as the greatest meeting of land and sea, Pebble Beach is every bit as good as you have heard it to be. Here are the must plays in the greatest zip code in golf. It’s 93953 in case you were wondering.

  • Pebble Beach Golf Links - Probably worth the $550 green fee.

  • Spyglass Hill Golf Course - I’ve heard many local caddies say that they believe Spyglass is better than Pebble Beach.

  • Pacific Grove Golf Links - The front nine will leave you wondering, the back nine will blow you away. $39 for twilight is a ridiculous deal.

  • Bayonet & Black Horse - Not on the Pacific Ocean, but close enough.

  • Spanish Bay Golf Links - Listen to bagpipers pipe their bags as the sun goes down over the Pacific Ocean.

  • Poppy Hills Golf Course - A renovation in 2013 brought back Poppy Hills into relevance.

The 17th at Pebble Beach Golf Links

The 17th at Pebble Beach Golf Links

The 2nd and 3rd holes at Spyglass Hill

The 2nd and 3rd holes at Spyglass Hill

The 14th hole at Spanish Bay

The 14th hole at Spanish Bay

Pacific Grove Golf Links is on my list of must plays in Monterey.

Pacific Grove Golf Links is on my list of must plays in Monterey.

#2 - Destination Kohler, WI

Wisconsin is the best state for public golf in the United States. It’s got the premier golf courses, the unique courses, and several value courses all in the mix. I just can’t get enough Wisconsin.

Right at the epicenter of the Wisconsin golf storm is Kohler, Wisconsin. You have the Straits and Irish courses at Whistling Straits and the River and Meadows courses at nearby Blackwolf Run. If that’s not enough to satisfy the golfer’s soul, here are 3 other locations that deserve a visit.

  • Erin Hills - US Open stunner

  • Lawsonia Links - It’s gotten some well deserved attention in recent years, but this classic design should not be missed.

  • Sentry World - The world famous flower hole will blow you away.

You can read about my first visit to Wisconsin here.

The flower hole at Sentry World features a new floral design each year.

The flower hole at Sentry World features a new floral design each year.

The 16th hole at Erin Hills

The 16th hole at Erin Hills

The 16th at Whistling Straits

The 16th at Whistling Straits

#1 - Bandon Dunes

At the top of the list it’s Bandon Dunes in a runaway victory. With the anticipated addition of Bally Bandon Sheep Ranch in 2020, Bandon Dunes is only getting better. It’s gonna take a golf miracle to oust this destination from the top of the list any time soon.

Bandon checks all of the boxes and checks them hard. Let’s closely examine the winning performance in our five categories.

  • Golf - Bandon Dunes has outstanding variety mixed with tremendous quality.

    • 4 top 100 golf courses all in the same place.

    • The Punchbowl - A massively fun putting green course

    • Bandon Preserve - The country’s best par 3 golf course.

  • Entertainment

    • The Bunker Bar

    • McKee’s Pub

    • If you are feeling really adventurous you can head into downtown Bandon. Arcade Tavern is where the action is.

    • The fire outside of McKee’s

    • Night golf

  • Value - $250 per round with a replay rate of $125. Your 3rd round of the day is free and Bandon Dunes will give you $100 if you manage to play a fourth round on that same day.

  • Convenience - Not hard, but not easy to get to. Once you are on the property, everything is quick and easy.

  • Golf Experience - Everything about Bandon Dunes is tailored to be about the game of golf. It’s golf as it was meant to be.

DJI_0076.jpg
PJK_6206.jpg
PJK_6184.jpg
Screen Shot 2019-07-30 at 5.48.14 PM.png

A Bandon Dunes Wedding.

Over the last several years, golf has taken me to some pretty sweet ass places. From the cliffs of Old Head in Ireland to the crashing waves of Cypress Point in California, this golfer has gotten around. Even though I have been spoiled rotten with the destinations, it is the people that have been the magic ingredient. One of those people that brought the magic has been Kenzie O’Connell.

The first time that I meant Kenzie O Connell was at a Starbucks in the Calgary airport. She was ordering some sort of advanced triple macchiato with double iced espresso beans, with zero fat and zero calories. “Oh lord, here we go,” I remember muttering in my head. It’s a good thing that I didn’t say those words out loud as I would have been forced to eat them several days later. As it turns out, my new friend Kenzie O’Connell was the real deal.

My second favorite shot of Kenzie from our Canadian Rockies trip

My second favorite shot of Kenzie from our Canadian Rockies trip

My favorite shot of Kenzie from our Canadian Rockies trip.

My favorite shot of Kenzie from our Canadian Rockies trip.

Countless adventures and golf trips later, Kenzie was scheduled to arrive at the altar with the man of her dreams, Jimmy. I was selected as the photographer of choice and the destination of choice was Bandon Dunes. It was a real best in class type situation. If anything, the photographer was the weak link.

I warned Kenzie that this was my first official wedding shoot and that all of her wedding photos were going to turn out blurry and overexposed. She paid little attention to my pleas and paid me anyways. The pressure was on and I needed to deliver. Fortunately, I didn’t have to jump right into '“capturing the magic of love” right away, I had time to warm up with a practice round at Bandon Preserve. Nothing warms up a camera lens faster than Bandon Preserve.

Jimmy, the groom, hits one in tight on #6

Jimmy, the groom, hits one in tight on #6

#7 on Bandon Preserve with Bandon Dunes in the distance

#7 on Bandon Preserve with Bandon Dunes in the distance

Looking back on 17 at Bandon Dunes from #11 on Bandon Preserve

Looking back on 17 at Bandon Dunes from #11 on Bandon Preserve

When I first met Kenzie, she couldn’t high kick past her knee.

When I first met Kenzie, she couldn’t high kick past her knee.

Devastation over a short missed putt for birdie on #5.

Devastation over a short missed putt for birdie on #5.

The emotion of the missed putt strikes the faces of the wedding crew.

The emotion of the missed putt strikes the faces of the wedding crew.

There a few things as satisfying as the sun setting over Bandon Dunes.

There a few things as satisfying as the sun setting over Bandon Dunes.

With the warmup photo session and golf complete at Bandon Preserve, it was time for Jimmy and Kenzie’s big day. First up, I was tasked with photographing the ‘getting ready phase.’ This phase can last anywhere from 1 to 17 hours and involves a lot of high stakes hair fixing, makeup, and garment arranging. I just tried to get out of the way as the girls rushed to meet their deadline.

PJK_2924.jpg
Keeping with the golf theme Jimmy’s groomsmen and best man were outfitted in caddie attire.

Keeping with the golf theme Jimmy’s groomsmen and best man were outfitted in caddie attire.

With 4 wedding caddies and just 1 groom, Jimmy was fully prepared for success at the ceremony.

With 4 wedding caddies and just 1 groom, Jimmy was fully prepared for success at the ceremony.

PJK_3184.jpg
DSC_0139.jpg
PJK_3217.jpg
PJK_3247.jpg
Jimmy and Kenzie decided to drive one into the Pacific to finalize their wedding vows to each other.

Jimmy and Kenzie decided to drive one into the Pacific to finalize their wedding vows to each other.

Jimmy was excited to marry Kenzie.

Jimmy was excited to marry Kenzie.

Some of the most boss bridesmaids that I have ever seen.

Some of the most boss bridesmaids that I have ever seen.

Kenzie did not actually hit this golf ball off of her brother’s face. Golfing in a wedding dress is hard.

Kenzie did not actually hit this golf ball off of her brother’s face. Golfing in a wedding dress is hard.

PJK_3594.jpg
PJK_3692.jpg
PJK_3576.jpg
PJK_3738-2.jpg

After Jimmy and Kenzie were officially married, it was time to head to the reception. That reception was held at Bandon Dunes’ Punch Bowl. The 100,000 square foot putting surface was the perfect place to have some drinks and celebrate two great people and families joining their lives together. There was also a fierce putting duel, in which Jimmy The Groom emerged victorious. I am not gonna say everyone let him win… but everyone let him win.

PJK_3781.jpg
Probably talking joint banking accounts and mutual funds.

Probably talking joint banking accounts and mutual funds.

PJK_4020.jpg
Jimmy’s father and best man exudes confidence and joy.

Jimmy’s father and best man exudes confidence and joy.

Easily in my top 5 wedding photos. Kenzie did not know that I was taking this picture. She is legitimately angry about her new husband beating her at golf.

Easily in my top 5 wedding photos. Kenzie did not know that I was taking this picture. She is legitimately angry about her new husband beating her at golf.

Nikki B is a talented golfer… but it is just one of her many talents.

Nikki B is a talented golfer… but it is just one of her many talents.

Tisha  and  Chelsea  did not approve the posting of this picture.

Tisha and Chelsea did not approve the posting of this picture.

My favorite shot out of the 3 million photos I took.

My favorite shot out of the 3 million photos I took.

After the sun went down on an amazing day, we didn’t just give up and go to sleep. We grabbed our golf clubs and headed out for some golf… Night golf that is.

The staff at Bandon Dunes provided all of the night golf supplies that we needed. They set up the course, provided the glow balls (Glow V1’s) and even had the staff walk with us to make sure we didn’t get lost. All that was required of us was to show up with our clubs once it got nice and dark.

Anyone can set up night golf if you have a group of 8 or more. Just inquire when booking. The routing is holes 1,2,3, and then you play back into the Bandon Dunes main clubhouse on the 9th hole.

The staff even left a special glow in the dark message for Jimmy and Kenzie.

The staff even left a special glow in the dark message for Jimmy and Kenzie.

Like a true Bandon bride and groom, Jimmy and Kenzie decided to wake up the next morning and play more golf. The agenda for the following day… more golf. It was a true Bandon Dunes honeymoon, or maybe we just call it a Bandon Honeydunes.

I take this picture every time that I arrive on the 6th tee box at Bandon Dunes, it’s always wonderfully different looking back down the 5th fairway.

I take this picture every time that I arrive on the 6th tee box at Bandon Dunes, it’s always wonderfully different looking back down the 5th fairway.

Tisha Alyn deals with one of the newly renovated bunkers on #9 at Bandon Dunes.

Tisha Alyn deals with one of the newly renovated bunkers on #9 at Bandon Dunes.

Since this was the first time playing Bandon Dunes for Nikki, Chelsea, and Tisha, I played the role of Golf Tour Guide. Golf Tour Guide is great because you get to tell all of your old stories and feel real important and knowledgable.

Nikki, Chelsea, and Tisha stroll hard on the 16th at Bandon Dunes.

Nikki, Chelsea, and Tisha stroll hard on the 16th at Bandon Dunes.

The view looking towards the green on the 6th tee box at Bandon Dunes.

The view looking towards the green on the 6th tee box at Bandon Dunes.

The gorse (bottom left) blooms twice a year at Bandon.

The gorse (bottom left) blooms twice a year at Bandon.

the 11th hole at Pacific Dunes is a popular selection for favorite golf hole at Bandon.

the 11th hole at Pacific Dunes is a popular selection for favorite golf hole at Bandon.

Although I knew it was going to be a special weekend, I couldn’t have imagined the outpouring of joy and love from this fantastic group of friends and family. Here’s to a long and fulfilling life together for the new bride and groom. Golf and love on!

PJK_4201.jpg

Golf Digest Think Young Play Hard Invitational - 2017

Every year, the fine folks over at Golf Digest throw a big golf tournament party and they call it the Think Young Play Hard Invitational, or TYPHI for short.  The tournament is so much fun, that it is one of the few tournaments T Rex attends every year.  As it turns out, the 65 million year old creature is a total golf nut.

For the tournament's inaugural 2 years, it has been hosted in Las Vegas.  Sensing that the TYPHI needed a change of pace, the tournament organizers consulted the ancient golf scrolls and moved the venue to Bandon Dunes.  From hot desert terrain to sea side wind storms, the tournament was on the move to the Pacific coast. 

When in doubt, go to Bandon Dunes
— Ancient Proverb

There are 2 acceptable options for any golfer arriving at Bandon Dunes without enough time for a full 18: Hone your putting game on the Punch Bowl or go to Bandon Preserve and warm up your wedges.  We had time for both.

The 2nd hole at  Bandon Preserve  gets the golf juices flowing.

The 2nd hole at Bandon Preserve gets the golf juices flowing.

With holes like the 6th,  Bandon Preserve  is easily one of the country's best short courses.

With holes like the 6th, Bandon Preserve is easily one of the country's best short courses.

For those new to Bandon, the Punch Bowl is a 100,000 square foot putting course designed by Jim Urbina and Tom Doak. It just had it's 3rd birthday and is a terrific way to spend hours putting.

You will find every kind of putt you can imagine out there, and probably a few you’ve never dreamed of.
— Tom Doak

With the tournament preparation taken care of, it was time to set our sites on the first round.  My partner?  Why It was none other than Smooderoo.  She's a doctor in Canada and wears hats that say "Pray for Birdies"  What could go wrong?  As it turns out in golf, lots of things can go wrong. 

Things that remained high during Round 1 of the 2017 TYPHI

  • Spirits
  • Temperatures
  • Our golf scores
In one of our team's first round highlights, we made a 4 footer for par on the relatively easy 17th hole at Bandon Trails.  The highlight reel was sparse, the aerial footage was plentiful.

In one of our team's first round highlights, we made a 4 footer for par on the relatively easy 17th hole at Bandon Trails.  The highlight reel was sparse, the aerial footage was plentiful.

The popular 5th hole at  Bandon Trails.

The popular 5th hole at Bandon Trails.

This is where we would drop out of the lead.  #2 at  Bandon Trails .

This is where we would drop out of the lead.  #2 at Bandon Trails.

So naturally, after a tough outing at Bandon Trails, I headed over to Pacific Dunes to hone my wind game.  I was fortunate enough to tee it up with the guys from ShipSticks and a good time was had flying drones, taking photos, and also playing some golf.  In perfect weather, with the sun setting over the ocean, Pacific Dunes is a visual assault on the golfing senses.  I tried to capture the magic from the ground and from the air.

A look back on the short 16th at  Pacific Dunes .

A look back on the short 16th at Pacific Dunes.

The golf party really starts on the 3rd hole at  Pacific Dunes .

The golf party really starts on the 3rd hole at Pacific Dunes.

With round 1 in the books, we found our 2 man team 4 shots out of the TYPHI flight lead.  Unfortunately, we would do little to help ourselves up the leader board during the second round at Bandon Dunes.  However, Sarah did help herself to some scotch at Bandon's secret stash.

The difficult 5th at  Bandon Dune s is one of the best holes on the property.

The difficult 5th at Bandon Dunes is one of the best holes on the property.

A different view of the 16th green at Bandon Dunes.

A different view of the 16th green at Bandon Dunes.

In the end it was the folks from Jones Golf that totally dominated the field with stellar play both rounds.  Congratulations fellas!!  I highly suggest that you honor their victory by picking up a Jones bag.

 Just when the awards were about to be handed out, T Rex came in hot and crashed the party.  He immediately started roaring and pounding Bud Lights.  He then proceeded  to pass out as he took in a classic Bandon Dunes sunset.

After spending some time in the Bunker Bar and telling stories of missed putts and chunked chips, it was time for an early morning send off round at Old Macdonald and just like that the TYPHI had come to a close.

A big thanks to Luan and the team at Golf Digest, the staff at Bandon Dunes, and all of the sponsors for putting on another fantastic tournament.  

What your golf ball sees at it descends onto the 11th green.

What your golf ball sees at it descends onto the 11th green.

The view from behind and above #13.

The view from behind and above #13.

Leave a ball, take a pull on the scotch, and go make some birdies.

Leave a ball, take a pull on the scotch, and go make some birdies.

Any time you use the same club 5 times in a row, it’s a bad thing.
— Patrick Koenig
Our final round pairing featured Instagram standout  Kasia Kay .  This girl can golf her ball.

Our final round pairing featured Instagram standout Kasia Kay.  This girl can golf her ball.

After calling in 6 rules violations, an angry and drunken T Rex demands a recount of all scores.

After calling in 6 rules violations, an angry and drunken T Rex demands a recount of all scores.

Personally, I am a big fan of railroad ties in bunkers.

Personally, I am a big fan of railroad ties in bunkers.